A Promising Future: The Millennial Impact on the World of Medicine

There’s been a good deal of attention recently on the graying of the medical workforce, but at the other chronological end, millennials (by some influential definitions, adults born after 1982) are also having a major impact on medicine, constituting as they do, anything from a quarter to a half of physicians in certain specialties, and about 15 percent of the physician total overall.

The Millennial Entrepreneurial Spirit

The millennials are leveling numerous challenges to medicine-as-usual: for one thing they’re much more insistent on work-life balance than earlier generations of physicians and much more willing to work outside of standard clinical environments. They negotiate for time with their families, and are ready to walk if they don’t get it. They advise insurance companies on the intricacies of national health regulations, join med-tech startups and become entrepreneurs themselves developing tools and techniques.

Perhaps most significantly, they’re vocal about what they don’t like in the institutional practice of medicine today. They’re challenging the harsh old-school paradigms of medical education, training and practice, asking why protocols nearly approaching abuse are supposed to make them better physicians.

A Broader Approach

We offer help in understanding where these younger physicians are coming from, what they want and how
to interact with them in the most positive ways—a problem easily remedied by giving up the unfortunately widespread idea of millennials being lazy, undercommitted “youngsters” who mainly need to be disciplined
and treating them as partners with valuable contributions to make to the future of medicine.

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Author

Liz Ferron, MSW, LICSW

Liz is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and received her MSW degree in clinical social work from the University of Minnesota. She has served three terms as President of the Minnesota Employee Assistance Program Administrators and Counselors (MEAPAC), and is a former adjunct faculty member at the College of St. Benedict. Liz has provided training to healthcare professionals in several areas, including stress management, change management and conflict resolution.